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- Living Legends tour, wine tasting and brewery visit with Melbourne Sports Tours
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This amazing day tour from Melbourne includes a Living Legends tour and visits to a top Macedon Ranges winery and a boutique brewery. Meet former champion racehorses at Living Legends, including Apache Cat, Brew and Fields Of Omagh. You’ll also enjoy a wood-fired pizza lunch, a wine tasting, and the chance to try a range of craft beers.
Tour name: Horses, Wine & Beer
Runs: Saturdays and Sundays
Departure point: Federation Square, Russell St (outside Melbourne Day Tour Centre)
Departure time: 9.30am
Duration: 7.5 Hours (approx.)
Inclusions: Transport, commentary, admission to Living Legends, pizza lunch, wine and beer tasting
Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.
Whether you’re into horse racing or not, you have to admire the pure athleticism of these majestic creatures.
Living Legends outside Melbourne is home to many retired champions of the track, and Melbourne Sports Tours offers a great day out that combines a visit to the facility with stops at a local winery and a boutique brewery. Now, as someone who loves nothing better than a cheeky punt and a pint during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, I couldn’t think of a nicer way to spend a day!
I meet tour guide Simon and the rest of the group at Melbourne’s Federation Square. Simon is very knowledgeable about horse racing. In fact, I’d call him a walking stats man! It’s a short drive from the city to Living Legends, which Simon describes as ‘a retirement village for racehorses’. The significance of the name becomes clearer when we meet some of the residents, who between them have earned hundreds of millions of dollars in prize money.
After a quick tour of the historic main house (built in 1843), we’re treated to a cuppa and traditional scones with jam and cream. Head trainer Eleanor arrives to show us around and as you would expect, she knows just about everything there is to know about her beloved horses. Every one of them has a story.
The horses are usually paired up or kept in groups of three. Eleanor explains that quite often the horses are familiar with one another, having trained together during their careers.
Firstly we meet Good Ba Ba, then Silent Witness – formerly the world’s top ranked turf sprinter. Efficient and Zipping (referred to as ‘Fish & Zip’!) are fairly standoffish until Eleanor lures them over with some feed. Brew, Fields Of Omagh (referred to as ‘FOO’) and Super Impressive put on a show as they receive their daily shower. Melbourne Cup winner Brew seems to love the water.
Paris Lane and Better Loosen Up (both Caulfield Cup winners) call Living Legends home, as do Rogan Josh and Apache Cat – who Eleanor describes as proper ‘BFFs’. Ex-racehorse and police mount Chief De Beers bunks in with big winners Maluckyday and California Memory, and Melbourne Cup winner Might and Power has the most unlikely of stable mates – a miniature horse named Toby!
It’s soon time to move on to our next stop – Gisborne Peak Winery – for lunch and a wine tasting. We taste our way through the estate’s excellent product list, and enjoy a glass of the wine of our choice with lunch. I should probably have picked a white to match my delicious prawn pizza, but I couldn’t go past the estate-grown Pinot Noir – with its distinctive aroma of cherries and spice.
We make our way towards the town of Woodend – home to the famous Holgate Brewhouse. Holgate brews its own small batch beers. Some are part of the regular menu, while others are experimentals that change with the seasons.
On arrival at the brewery we’re presented with a tasting paddle of eight different beers, including two of Holgate’s most popular brews – Export Hills and an American-style IPA called Road Trip. There’s a chocolate porter named Temptress, a Belgian IPA known as Unflemished, the Hopinator and the 8% Belgian-style ‘Dubbel’ Abbey Ale called Double Trouble. They’re all sensational.
On the journey back to Melbourne we chat quietly or drift off to sleep. This Living Legends tour has been a champion day.
Chris travelled as a guest of Melbourne Sports Tours.
Additional images: Bigstock
About the writer
Chris Bright is a freelance writer based in Melbourne with a passion for travel, food, music and film. He’s travelled to South-East Asia, India, Japan, parts of Europe and most of North America – the most memorable of which was hiring a 7-foot RV and driving from Miami to LA with a bunch of close mates. Chris is willing to try anything once, whether it’s leaping from great heights or eating things that don’t look the least bit appetising. When it comes to travel, he loves nothing more than meeting new people and sharing a laugh over their local drink of choice.